For some, using the food tricks and caffeine and stimulants closer to bed time is enough to get a great night’s sleep.
However, if you find yourself really needing a supercharge, there are some supplements that will work wonders for you by either helping you fall asleep or keeping you in a deeper sleep.
There are a number of great herbs and supplements that can help you get a great night’s sleep. Here are some that I’ve found support me the best and that don’t leave me feeling groggy in the morning. Getting a great night’s sleep is great, but if you wake up feeling foggy, it defeats the purpose.
The Best Sleep Supplements
Zinc is an important supplement for male and female fertility and thereby for libido, as zinc deficiency can lead to lower testosterone levels. Both men and women need balanced testosterone levels for optimal hormonal support.
Dosage: It is normally best taken at a dosage of 25mg per day with magnesium (see below) and vitamin B6 (ZMA) – about 30 minutes before bed on an empty stomach.
Nowadays, nearly everyone is magnesium deficient. Refined/processed foods are stripped off their mineral, vitamin and fibre content. These are anti-nutrient foods because they actually steal magnesium in order to be metabolised.
When consumed, if not supplemented with magnesium, we become increasingly deficient. Are you tense and tight or crave chocolate? Anything that makes you tense or tight could be potentially due to a magnesium deficiency, which is one reason why you may crave chocolate at night-time or when stressed. Chocolate is one of the highest food sources of magnesium.
The case of consuming chocolate is a catch twenty-two though. Even though it has magnesium, chocolate also has sugar. Every molecule of sugar you consume pulls over 50 times the amount of magnesium out of the body.
Dosage: Try taking 600–800mg a day 30 minutes before bed. However, be careful, as too much too soon can give you a stomach upset. When you get the correct dosage, due to its mild affect on your central nervous system, you can find that you are much more relaxed going to bed.
An inhibitory neurotransmitter, your brain uses GABA to shut itself down. It can dramatically calm you down when taken on an empty stomach. I normally take it 60 minutes after my meal.
Dosage: Start with 500mg before bed. This dosage can go as high as 2,500mg (incrementing the dose).
Also sold as 5HTP, L-tryptophan is normally talked about after Christmas or thanksgiving dinner, as turkey is particularly high in this amino acid. L-tryptophan can allow your brain to release serotonin (one of our brains happy hormones), which can help you unwind before bed.
Dosage: Start with 500mg a night. I’ve always been a massive fan of the ZMA, GABA and 5HTP combination, which always allows my body and brain to unwind at the right time, get into a deeper sleep and does not leave me groggy in the morning.
It is a potent hormone and antioxidant that your body is supposed to produce on its own if you get natural darkness (from the sun going down each day) and enough sleep. When I struggled with sleep in my mid twenties, I was getting neither, and a lot of people with sleep issues are the same. There is a risk of your body stopping the production of melatonin if you supplement with it, so I only recommend using it for short periods, not more than 4 weeks at a time, and then taking at least four to eight weeks off. Your body naturally regulates its production of hormones based on how much of those hormones are present in the body. Therefore, if you supplement with melatonin, your body will naturally produce less melatonin.
Dosage: Melatonin supplements can range from 300– 3,000mg. I tend to stay on the lower end with 300– 500mg if I use it for an extended period (4 weeks) or use the high end 3,000 mg for 2 or 3 days if I need to recover from jet lag. Keep this as a tool in your arsenal, but don’t have it as a staple as with ZMA, GABA and 5HTP.
Also read:- Surprising Health Benefits of Eating Marijuana
Human growth hormone (HGH) and sleep
During sleep, your body naturally secretes HGH, which maintains your organs and tissues. Training and using the correct supplements can boost HGH dramatically, but sleep is another crucial factor responsible for maintaining optimal levels. As you get older, your natural level of HGH secretion drops.
Therefore, using hacks, supplements, foods and sleep can give you all the benefits – lower body fat, more muscle, increased energy and anti-aging to name a few. If you want to remain full of energy, in a great physical condition and youthful, keeping your HGH high is critical. All the supplements mentioned above can dramatically increase natural HGH while you sleep.
How to avoid the night time second wind
There is a window from 10:45–11:00pm when most people naturally get tired. This window differs a little, based on each person or the current season, but it falls in with the general circadian cycle mentioned above.
This happened to me for years! If I missed my 11:00pm window by 15 or 20 minutes, I would get this incredible second wind, which was amazing when I was eighteen or nineteen and going out to clubs, but terrible when I was in my mid-twenties and had to be up for work at 6:00am.
If you can stick as close as you can to the circadian cycle and get to bed before 11:00pm, you will wake up feeling more rested than if you get the same amount of sleep starting later. But I recommend experimenting with this trick for a week or two. Try going to bed at 12:00am, allowing for 30 minutes of unwind time beforehand, and getting up at 8:00am.
The following week, try going to bed at 11:00pm and getting up at 7:00am and monitor how much better you feel when you do the latter. It seemed crazy to me initially.
I thought seven-and–a-half hours sleep is seven-and-a-half hours regardless of when you get it, but the results were very different when put into practice. It’s also great to know about this second wind as you can choose to avoid it or take advantage of it – some of my best writing and ideas have come to me during this second wind. Just be sure you don’t have an early start the next morning.
Switch off your brain
The problem usually begins before bedtime. You may feel unable to switch off from feelings of stress, tension and anxiety. One thing that has supported me massively is writing down all of tomorrow’s task before I get into my night-time routine.
For months, I found myself thinking about what I had to do the next day, and it felt like my brain was going into an overdrive to solve all of life’s problems at midnight! Writing down everything I need to do the following day helps my brain unwind, safe in the knowledge that I won’t forget my most important tasks.
When you get right down to it, food is one of the most important variables that makes an impact on your energy levels and body composition. The second most important variable – which is probably just as important as exercise if not more – is sleep.
I am certified in addiction counseling, public health, health education, mental health and I am also an AIDS-certified registered nurse with more than 30 years of experience and senior editor at Hindi health point